Exactly two years ago, McKinsey produced a report outlining how to get more value from digital marketing#.
In it, they outlined four core sources of value:
1. Orchestrate an integrated consumer experience to
capture the cumulative impact of online traffic on the front end, engage
customers and influence them as they’re making their selection, and
deepen relationships after the sale. This requires a combination of
search engine positioning, content development and conversation
strategy, and closing the loop by encouraging positive recommendations
2. Inspire customers to help you stretch your budget by investing more in content (and experience) development.
The figures cited in the report were shifting from a 60 percent
allocation to paid media and 20 percent to content to a 30 percent
allocation to paid, and 50 percent to owned and earned content in
digital. One recent example of a big shift within digital budget
allocations is the Coca Cola proposed course of action with Liquid
Content. The company plans to move the 60 percent devoted to link
testing, 20 percent to static in market testing, and 20 percent to
qualitative testing to 30 percent link testing, 30 percent on building
inspirational spaces and tools and 15 percent to feedback and online
3. Adopt a publisher’s discipline to curb costs and
avoid reinventing the content. This means producing content people are
looking for, streamlining the time to live production by linking
strategy and execution tightly, clarifying decision rights and
documenting information flows as needed, re-imagining content, measuring
performance, and increasing relevance wherever possible. Much of this
process can be automated.
4. Use business intelligence wisely to drive performance
by serving up the right message at the right time of the customer
buying cycle. This means companies need to prioritize what to measure,
and have a process in place to act upon insights, track results, and
follow up with action.
While some marketers in leading organizations have made progress in
thinking and acting differently to adapt to the changing way consumers
make purchasing decisions, change in many businesses has been slow.
Consumer behavior continues to be more sophisticated and executives from
outside the marketing function are not as aware of the rapid changes
that may render their Website and online efforts obsolete.
Marketers and service providers still need to build a shared
understanding and commitment to change across the C-suite if they are to
make any progress in connecting with consumers and work effectively to
Providing answers to the following questions is a good start:
What is the total cost of our digital marketing across the
organization, who is responsible for managing content across channels,
and is publishing well-managed for cost-effectiveness?
What’s the plan—including the people and dollars to be invested—for
engaging and nurturing a core group of passionate brand advocates? How
do we plan to tap the feedback value they provide?
How well does our digital-marketing approach—the content, links
between different channels, and investment levels—correspond to the way
customers make purchasing decisions?
What warning signs do we track on an ongoing basis to keep ahead of
changes in customer behavior, the actions of competitors, and attitudes
toward our brand? Who is responsible for acting on what we learn about
what our customers see, do, and say?
The answers can help organizations decide whether it is investing
sufficiently in delivering digital messages and what it will need to
track the quality and impact of its efforts.
Evolutionary explanation for slow changing times
Why are so many organizations still in catch up mode? The answer may be found in behavior ecology.
Organisms in extremely static environments and extremely variant
environments don’t gain any benefit from determining their own optimal
strategy independently, as opposed to simply following what’s been done
before or is done by con-specifics.
Reinventing the wheel is not efficient in biology. A few anthropologists
have pointed out that the same logic may apply to humans#.
Independent thought is expensive, and is only optimal in particular
environments. If nothing ever changes then it is futile and wasteful. If
things change far too fast for an individual alone to “track” their
environment then it is also futile and wasteful.
At one end of the spectrum, when change doesn’t occur, it pays off to
follow the tried and true. At the other, when change is too fast, people
fall back on cheap collective strategies.
The hardest thing to change is culture, and in the midst of rapid change
and as marketers and advisers, you may be bumping against the famed
“wait and see” approach.
While you can use the increased ability to obtain real time feedback to
keep gaining some advantage until the speed of change levels off, there
are three things you can do right away to have an impact:
1. Deliver a sound, concrete strategy, then focus on a simple plan to execute it.
Take into account the organization's relationship with its customers,
its internal processes, and its ability to learn and grow as well as who
has decision rights and what are the appropriate information flows.
2. Help the organization go from paid- to purpose-driven.
Shrinking budgets are your ally when you can demonstrate that purpose
is the new scale. Use examples like TED, Kickstarter, Evernote, and Etsy
to show how marketing, capitalization, sales, and distribution are
3. Demonstrate the value of embracing community.
Collaboration and co-creation are the at the basis of business
disruptors like Craiglist and the supporting elements of co-working
spaces, as well as the principles that will help the organization
succeed on Facebook with the new Timeline changes.
True advantage comes from producing short and long term gains.
Working with content and conversation in social is an opportunity to
first and foremost help organizations leverage control more
appropriately and understand information flows.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.